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Calfee Bamboo UTILITY Bikes?

While looking through the most recent entries at Fake Plastic Fish, I stumbled upon a link to AfriGadget. There's an article up there about Bamboo Bikes, and none other than Craig Calfee of NAHBS fame was behind it.

I saw Craig's creations last week at NAHBS, and as usual, he doesn't disspoint. I would put a link here to my pictures, but since the hard drive on my Mac G4 iBook is apparently roasted, my photo uploading abilities are somewhat... limited. Anyway, check out the article.


Anonymous said...

Calfee is proud of its “American-made” bike frames. Yet, according to an article by Fred Dreier in the Velo News Buyer’s Guide, Calfee states he hires documented Mexican workers instead of Americans. To get past the language barrier, his production managers act as interpreters. “I now rely on the current (predominantly Mexican) staff to recruit new workers.”..”We started out with American-born production workers, but we had trouble with turnover, theft, and erratic attendance”.

So much for keeping Americans at work at a living wage by
buying American. What good is accomplished by repealing NAFTA if American companies won’t even hire Americans??

nollij said...

I would argue serveral points here. First, Mexican's ARE Americans... as in NORTH AMERICA? Ok, so I'm maybe I'm splitting hairs, as they are not "US CITIZENS" which is what I'm sure you meant???

Often times as an employer, you had a limited number of applicants for a particular job. Not everyone wants to build bikes, and if you're thinking of hiring a person long term who is reliable, skilled and motivated to show up and do the work... well, Americans often have a bad case of "the grass is always greener" syndrome. There's some work ethics that many (not all) mexican immigrants hold that are often lacking in their united states counterparts. Many immigrant folks have families (i.e. Mouths to feed) and steady reliable work is desirable, often times taking precedence over looking for a better (i.e. grass is greener) job.

I think using Calfee bikes as an example of American companies not hiring American workers is a poor example. It would mean more in a company that employs 500 people, not 15. Of course they add up, but come on…
Anonymous, have you spoken with Calfee directly about their labor force? you're taking the whole article by Fred Dreier as gospel… and as we well know, periodical and newspaper writers get paid to write interesting & sometimes inflammatory articles. I'm not convinced until I hear the whole story. I'm sure if you wrote to Calfee that you'd get a reply; they can't afford a lot of bad press and I'm sure they'd like to clear the air if they felt they were being unfairly accused.

And for the record, even if their workers are LEGAL immigrants from Mexico, the bikes are MADE here in the U.S and the workers are from "the americas". Speaking for myself only, if I could afford a Calfee and I really wanted one, I wouldn't feel ripped off if every worker in the Calfee production facility was a legal mexican immigrant. Were there a bunch of native americans or *gasp* white guys applying for the job that got passed over for the legal mexican immigrants? That would be a question for Calfee, but my GUESS is no.

Please put your name up when you comment ok? I like to engage in a conversation with a person, and anonymous always feels like you're not willing to own up to what you say.

Anonymous said...

Federal Title VII bans employers from discriminating on race, color, or national origin. Illegal discrimination occurs when an employer makes hiring or other employment decisions based on any of these issues. Therefore, employment decisions based on stereotypes or assumptions about traits or abilities of a person of a particular race or color are barred, as are employment decisions based on a person's ancestry, birthplace or culture, linguistic characteristics, or surnames associated with a specific national origin. Even in the absence of overt examples, an employer may be proved to have discriminated if seemingly neutral policies disproportionately and negatively impact members of a specific group. I see nothing in the law that would exempt U.S. born citizens from the law's protection.

nollij said...

Hey anon, why the subterfuge? Not many people read my blog, and you don't have to give away your SSN and first born child, just your name, even if it's just a first name (the URL is optional).

There is nothing in the law the prevents the protection of US Born citizens; in this you are correct. If someone felt that had been discriminated against, they are free to file a civil suit against Calfee. The court system isn't great in this country, but it's better than many.

I think the more likely scenario is that they (Calfee) had some people start and then quit, or steal, or just be crappy employees. When they went to rehire, they ended up with a lot of mexican immigrants applying for the jobs and they were the most qualified to do it and they are happy with their performance as employees. They ended up with more positions being open and more immigrants applying for the jobs than citizens, and they ended up with an immigrant labor force and they're happy with that: I don't think they're saying that they won't hire americans, I think that's what you're inferring from the article. Of course, you don't post the article nor a link to it so I can't analyze it myself. Let me look at it so I can make a full assessment of what the author said and what the author said that Calfee said. Until that's done, this argument won't go any further.

If you'll remember, most of our families at one point had to come to this country and were "immigrants" looking for work. Many of them experienced discrimination though many were "legal" immigrants. I'm still not sure what you object to: is it that Calfee bikes are labeled "American Made" and they are built primarily by legal immigrants or that Calfee hires legal immigrants and may have a bias towards them? Are you a disgruntled former employee? How bout a little transparency and personal responsibility, starting with your name?